Tanks (Air Conditioning).

Oral Answers to Questions — Production. – in the House of Commons on 29th July 1942.

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Photo of Major-General Sir Alfred Knox Major-General Sir Alfred Knox , Wycombe

asked the Minister of Production whether he can now make a statement on the comparative interior temperature at present of our tanks and those of the enemy in Egypt?

Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

asked the Minister of Production whether he has taken steps to call into consultation scientists, representatives of air-conditioning and refrigerating machine makers both in this country and the United States of America and personnel who have driven tanks in desert warfare, with a view to the production of efficiently cooled tanks?

Photo of Mr Oliver Lyttelton Mr Oliver Lyttelton , Aldershot

As I stated on 8th July in reply to a Supplementary Question by the hon. Member for Seaham (Mr. Shinwell), examination of captured enemy tanks does not afford any evidence of any refrigeration in German tanks. The widespread belief that they are so equipped has probably arisen from a recent illustration in the daily Press purporting to show a refrigeration plant in a German tank. This illustration was a diagrammatic picture, not a photograph, and examination by experts from two of the leading refrigeration firms in this country, confirmed by the Design Department of the Ministry of Supply, shows that the scheme illustrated makes no contribution to the problem of cooling tanks. The installation of any kind of refrigeration or air-conditioning apparatus in a tank, desirable as it might be, raises serious problems of both space and weight. Nevertheless, the Ministry of Supply have set up a small Panel to obtain all possible information on air-conditioning equipment and its application to vehicles. This Panel includes scientists and refrigeration experts. The Tank Design Department of the Ministry of Supply moreover maintains a section for physiological research in connection with tanks, composed of members lent by the Medical Research Council.

Photo of Major-General Sir Alfred Knox Major-General Sir Alfred Knox , Wycombe

Will the Minister state that there is absolutely no truth in the statement by the German Official News Agency that Rommel's tanks were fitted with refrigerator apparatus, and is there any truth in the reply given last September to an inventor by an officer who signed a letter on behalf of the Director of Armoured Fighting Forces, stating that a satisfactory method had been found for cooling our tanks which was better than the German method?

Photo of Mr Oliver Lyttelton Mr Oliver Lyttelton , Aldershot

I think my hon. and gallant Friend is confusing air-conditioning and ventilation., There is no evidence of any air-conditioning in German tanks.

Photo of Major-General Sir Alfred Knox Major-General Sir Alfred Knox , Wycombe

Are our tanks in Egypt as cool as the German tanks?

Photo of Mr Oliver Lyttelton Mr Oliver Lyttelton , Aldershot

Yes, Sir, so far as we know, but I could not give a precise answer to the question.

Photo of Captain Leonard Plugge Captain Leonard Plugge , Rochester Chatham

Is there any reason why we should wait for the Germans to cool their tanks before we cool our own?

Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

. Is the Minister aware that before this publication appeared in the Press there was a great deal of feeling that his Department had been inaccurately informed? Will he publish in the OFFICIAL REPORT the names of the gentlemen on this Panel, and will he include on it some people who have driven tanks in the desert?